$1 billion is granted to Nepal and Bangladesh to improve regional connectivity and trade.
Kathmandu: In order to lower trade and transport costs as well as transit duration along the regional corridors, the World Bank on Wednesday approved financing totaling $1.03 billion to help strengthen regional trade in Bangladesh and Nepal.
The world bank stated in a statement that the ACCESS Programme Phase 1 will assist the respective governments in addressing the main obstacles to regional trade, including manual and paper-based trade processes, inadequate transportation and infrastructure, and difficult trade and transport regulations and processes.
With Bangladesh and Nepal, the Phase 1 program will assist in the transition from time-consuming manual and paper-based trade processes to digitalized automated solutions. In addition to installing electronic truck entrance and exit tracking, electronic queuing, smart parking, and CCTV cameras, the automation will speed up border crossing times.
In addition, the initiative will provide environmentally friendly and climate-resilient development while upgrading important land ports and customs infrastructure. This will facilitate the integration of Bhutan and Nepal, both of which are landlocked, with the gateway nations of Bangladesh and India.
The Sheola Land Port will be connected to the Dhaka-Sylhet Highway by a 43km segment of the two-lane Sylhet-Charkai-Sheola road that will be upgraded to a four-lane, climate-resilient route thanks to a $753.45 million finance package for the ACCESS Project in Bangladesh. Travel time will be reduced by 30% as a result.
“While the trade between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal grew six times from 2015 to 2019, the unexploited potential for regional trade is estimated at 93 percent for Bangladesh,” said Mercy Tembon, World Bank Country Director for Bangladesh and Bhutan. “The project will help Bangladesh improve regional trade and transport and automation of processes will build resilience to crises like the Covid-19 pandemic.”
With a focus on improving road safety, the 69 km long, two-lane Butwal-Gorusinghe-Chanauta road in Nepal will be upgraded as part of the $275 million ACCESS Project into a four-lane, climate-resilient roadway. This will improve connectivity to India’s western seaports by 30 percent estimated reduction in journey time.
“Nepal has significant unrealized potential for exports and regional trade. Low regional commerce frequently results from high connectivity costs, according to Faris Hadad-Zervos, World Bank Country Director for Sri Lanka, Nepal, and the Maldives. “The project would foster a green, resilient, and inclusive development by supporting better connectivity and trade, both within the provinces and regionally among Nepal and other countries,” according to the statement.
The ACCESS initiative places a strong emphasis on fostering ideas that will help cut down on dwell times at trade gateways, which is essential for bringing down trade prices. According to Erik Nora, the World Bank Task Team Leader for the program, this comprises improving border cooperation and coordination both within and between nations, reducing the physical inspection of commodities, and simplifying rules and procedures.